A Reminder about Safety

From Phil Key, President

First and foremost, we want to congratulate everyone who has helped us create and maintain an excellent safety culture at Ruppert. As we understand: safety is everyone’s responsibility. For us, safety is not only a policy, it is a value and part of our culture. We build safety practices and principles into our everyday routines, measure our success to hold ourselves accountable, and do our best to make the workplace a safer environment for our people and to provide a quality, safe service for our customers.

One of the ways that we measure how we’re doing with safety is through our Experience Modification Rate (EMR, and you’ll sometimes also hear it referred to as our MOD rate). This rating, which is like a credit score, is tallied by a third party who considers the company’s cost of past injuries and future chances of risk. The rating is a good indicator of a company’s overall safety. A company that scores above 1.0 is considered risker than most; a company below 1.0 is considered safer than most. For the past six years, our EMR has been on a continuous downward trend—from a high of 1.34 in 2014 to where we sit currently at 0.74. That is a trend that we are very proud of, and we are grateful for the leadership provided by Dave Sanders, our Safety Committee members, and to each of you for helping us achieve that milestone.

Recently, however, we’ve seen an uptick in preventable accidents including serious vehicular accidents and severe injuries to several employees. We’ve experienced a number of collisions where seat belts came into play, a handful of eye injuries where safety glasses would have made the difference, and a number of hand and finger injuries that were caused simply by not following a rule or proper procedure. In general, the past few months have been challenging for us all and we’ve had a lot of very legitimate distractions to contend with, adjusting to many new protocols at home and at work to keep ourselves and our families safe. The extra brainpower and tasks that are often required to deal with these challenges, however, cannot supersede some of our very important fundamentals that we have in place to ensure that we have safe and healthy working conditions that will protect all employees. Fundamentals like wearing your PPE, avoiding distractions both while driving and operating equipment, planning your job, choosing the right equipment, operating that equipment as trained, using rollover protection and seat belts, lifting properly, and using a spotter every time we back up—all of which are in place to keep us safe. With that in mind, I wanted to take a minute to remind everyone about the importance of the basics. So please remember the following when traveling to or from a job site and at all times on the job:

  • Always stay visible. Wear safety vests at all times.
  • Don’t risk your sight: once it’s gone you can’t get it back. Eye protection is part of the uniform and should be worn at all times while working on the job.
  • Protect your hearing. Ear protection is required when operating or being near any power equipment.
  • Wear your seatbelt. Make buckling up a routine—something you do EVERY time you get in a vehicle before you start the engine. Seatbelts are the law and mandatory usage for all employees in all company-owned or leased vehicles and equipment.
  • Park your phone before you go. Distraction kills—that’s why our policy is no cellphone use at all while driving, including hands free.

We only ask that you do your job safely and get home to enjoy your family every night.

We appreciate all that you do and understand that no one ever thinks that they will be the one who will sustain an injury or will injure others.  However, accidents happen and our best way to safeguard ourselves against a worst-case scenario of someone losing an eye, getting injured on a piece of equipment, or having a fatal accident is by staying focused on the details that we can control. Simply put, you are very important to us and by following safety rules, we can prevent accidents from occurring. Statistics show that 80% of accidents happen because workers do not take the proper precautionary measures or take a shortcut rather than follow proper procedure. The seconds you might save by taking a perceived shortcut only increase the risk of injury and can cost, exponentially, much more in the end.

There will always be a level of risk with anything we do in our industry—but keeping those risks as low as possible should always be our goal. By each of us doing the right thing, the right way, every time, we improve our odds that every employee goes home safely at the end of the day. Please continue to do your part to keep us safe!  Thanks for listening and enjoy the weekend.